We’re ending the year with joyful hearts. We invite you to celebrate with us: by God’s grace we’ve reached over 475 orphanage graduates in 2019, offering deep services to meet their complex needs. We’ve seen our youth flourishing and the orphan cycle ended in many families.
I’d love to tell you about the orphanage graduates I’ve met and my personal experience seeing Last Bell’s work in Ukraine! Would you join me for a brief conversation?
To go deeper, we welcome you to read our full December letter, where we share three special stories about our youth, along with the first data returned from our Wellness Initiative. For example, we’ve learned that through our Stop the Cycle program, $1500 prevents one child from becoming an orphan.
Friends, we’re so grateful that you come to know and love our youth, think about them, ask about them, pray about them, and give toward their wellbeing and the transformation of their community.
You equip us for this work. Would you consider giving a year-end gift?
Shelter Crisis Housing is a home where orphan moms can stay in a true emergency and receive comprehensive help for their families. But how do we know this model is effective?
Eight of the moms who started the Shelter program have completed the steps and accepted all the help we provide. All eight are now in stable housing and able to care for their children. That’s a 100% success rate for those who follow the program.
Donations for the Shelter program lead to:
children at home instead of an orphanage
moms able to provide safe, loving households
healthy family stories replacing generational abuse and neglect
a post-orphanage community founded on God’s love
That’s worth celebrating! In this video, we welcome you to walk through the doors of the Shelter to learn, laugh, play, and heal with our families:
But wait, there’s more!
Orphanage graduates from all Last Bell’s programs benefit from this residential home.
Our Restoration Project crew has breakfast and lunch at the Shelter, along with morning devotions. Sergei (RP foreman) and Anna (Shelter staff) demonstrate a positive model of marriage and child-rearing. The guys sometimes babysit or help residents move in and out. The RP apprenticeship keeps them busy, but the Shelter weaves them into our larger community.
Students in our Educational Outreach program may stay at the Shelter if their trade school dorm is closed for a school break, or between holiday visits with friends or relatives. Orphanage graduates of all ages stay when they’re in Zhytomyr for medical treatment or work on documents. Or they just drop by for a hot meal and conversation!
Orphan moms from Stop the Cycle (Shelter’s umbrella program) wash laundry at the Shelter, take showers, pick up groceries, sit down for meals, and just stop by to visit. Donated clothing, coats, and shoes from American friends, as well as diapers, medication, and vitamins, are stored, sorted, and handed out at the Shelter. Moms and students alike drop by for used clothing. Oksana Pankyeyeva offers counseling and individual consulations at her Shelter office.
So many friends added bricks to this amazing building. Many thanks to the original donors who helped us purchase it; the staff and youth who filled it with laughter and love those first years; the RP crew and other workers who converted it into crisis housing; the staff and volunteers who serve our residents now; and current donors who put sheets on the beds and borscht on the table.
May God bless your own giving and receiving of hospitality this season!
This autumn, we’re celebrating Shelter Crisis Housing. The Shelter provides security for orphan moms in the midst of difficult and dangerous circumstances.
The Shelter is housed under our Stop the Cycle (STC) program. Through STC, orphan parents attend parenting classes, receive groceries and used clothing/shoes, and have access to mentorship, biblical counseling, help with paperwork, and many other services. But sometimes an orphan mom needs more than just outside assistance.
Why crisis housing?
Most orphan moms, or moms-to-be, struggle with parenthood. But some find themselves in true crises. Natasha K. shared about her situation prior to the Shelter:
Of the 14 moms who’ve stayed with us, five left abusive relationships; seven lacked a safe place to live after giving birth, so the child would have been removed; and three, like Natasha, came from unsafe conditions. Every mom was unable to work (and pay for housing) because her children were too young for school.
A High-Impact Program for Family Transformation
We like to say our Shelter program is “more than housing.” What does that mean?
During their two years at the Shelter, a mom’s every need is provided for. Our goal is to resolve the crisis, but more importantly, to help her establish family stability: a safe living situation, skills to provide for herself and raise her child, a job, and a church connection. To that end, we offer assistance in several areas:
HOUSING: a safe place to live · housing documentation · finding a house or renovating a current home · help moving when ready
EDUCATION: documents for education · educational activities for kids at the Shelter · registering kids for school · babysitting while moms study
EMPLOYMENT: finding a job · babysitting while moms work · helping moms save 50% of income while safely housed
PARENTING: parenting, housekeeping, relationship skills · Stop the Cycle and MOPS · modeling our family relationships · having fun as a big family
SPIRITUAL & RELATIONAL: church attendance & relationships · healthy connections with relatives and friends · personal and family counseling
FOLLOW-UP: staying connected to moms personally · continuing Stop the Cycle and MOPS · seeing moms at church · home visits
As we celebrate, we’ll be sharing extras on social media, including a Facebook photo album with profiles of our current Shelter residents. Join us on Facebook here and Instagram here. We’ll also share Shelter prayer requests on our prayer circle email list. To be added, just reply to this email.
To support Shelter Crisis Housing, click the Donate button above.
Knowing and learning about orphanage graduates is one way of loving them. Thank you for reading about these vulnerable Shelter families, and for your prayers!
Last Bell’s director Andrey Pankyeyev shares about how Last Bell is creating a community of hope for young people in Ukraine. Watch to learn how your gift of $100, $50, or $20 can transform the lives of orphans in Zhytomyr!